Another cat post? Yes. Considering I saw Bolla almost every day for close to 8 years, two posthumous blog posts are a case of too little, too late.
Just to be clear, I didn’t learn only two things from my years with Bolla, but these are probably going to stick with me for longer than the rest.
1. The ugliness of disease and death
Bolla was a very lively cat when we first got her. I’d tie stuff to the end of a string and have her chase me around the apartment (a game neither of the other two cats took to). I’d get breathless long before she did. As age and disease set in, she ran around less, became less fastidious about cleaning herself, and so on. Her last 48 hours were the nadir of her existence. She lost all muscle control and suffered violent convulsions.
The Lord has spared me in that I haven’t walked this path with a human loved one. But the alternating and intermingled rage and despair I felt was no less real. Some passages in scripture are now less remote and more precious to me, like the raising of Lazarus, Paul’s triumphant cry in 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 and Isaiah 25:8 (quoted in Revelation 21:4).
2. The beauty of trust
I remember the first time we gave Bolla and her long, thick fur a bath. She sulked at us for hours, refusing any advances. Immediately after her last bath (exactly a week before she died) it was like nothing had happened. Why the change? I believe it was because she knew she could trust us. She had been a recipient of our love, care and concern for her over the years (sometimes in the form of a pill stuck down her throat!) and knew, in her own kitty way, that we were on her side. And you know what? Bolla’s confidence in me brought me great joy and satisfaction.
I’m envious. I’d love to be able to have the same faith in my God that Bolla had in me. I’ve received so much more from my heavenly Father than I could ever give a pet, and yet I’m still prone to not setting my hope fully on Him. I therefore cry out with the anguished father, “I believe; help my unbelief!”